MANILA, Philippines—Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co. (PLDT) is laying down more fiber-optic cable in the Visayas area to strengthen its nationwide backbone, allowing the company to deliver high-quality fixed or mobile services to more areas in the country.
In a statement, PLDT and its mobile unit Smart Communications said they would spend P856 million on an “all-new” fiber-optic cable route that would connect Cebu to Bohol and run on to Misamis Oriental.
“This new facility, which will be completed by September 2013, will significantly boost the resiliency of PLDT transmission links to Bohol and the entire island of Mindanao,” the statement said.
“We have fast-tracked this particular project because the demand for broadband services—both from consumers and businesses—is growing rapidly in the Visayas and Mindanao areas,” said Rolando Peña, PLDT and Smart head of network and IP systems.
“This will further strengthen our fiber advantage over other carriers. At this point, PLDT and Smart already have over 54,000 kilometers of fiber-optic cable assets over the country—several times larger than the resources available to the competition,” he added.
The project involves laying down a total of about 450 kilometers of fiber-optic cables from Cebu to Cagayan de Oro City.
More than 300 km of cable will be inland while another 150 km will be under links in the sea between Cebu and Bohol and between Bohol and Misamis Oriental.
PLDT said the project would enable the area’s provincial governments to pursue more aggressively their efforts to attract investments from business process outsourcing companies.
“Bohol has been trying to get investors to set up call centers in the province for the past several years. But the lack of robust communications infrastructure has been an obstacle,” Peña said.
Bohol’s tourist arrivals hit the 550,000 mark last year, up from about 460,000 in 2009. The number is expected to rise further as more visitors take to the province’s famous beach resorts and eco-tourism attractions.
“More and more tourists now routinely expect to have Internet access in their hotels or on their smart phones, laptops or tablets. With the fiber link to Bohol, we will be better able to support high-speed mobile and fixed broadband,” Peña stated.
The project will also add a third leg to the two fiber-optic highways already connecting Mindanao to the rest of the country through PLDT’s domestic fiber-optic network.